Clue: It’s not Clint Eastwood’s Republican Convention speech.
It’s the pomegranate, in season (here in the Northern Hemisphere) now through February.
You may have noticed pomegranates in the produce section of your local supermarket. Perhaps you strolled over to the pomegranate bin to pick up one of the crown jewels and admired it for its exotic beauty. You might have turned it over in your hands and thought about its numerous health benefits—even sniffed the pomegranate and fantasized about devouring its sweet, tart, juicy seeds.
Then you probably scratched your head and wondered, “How do I eat a pomegranate?” With a frown, you likely tossed it back into the bin and made a beeline for the apples.
Eating a pomegranate can be tricky. My method has always been to cut the pomegranate in half or into segments and scrape out the seeds—which works well if you don’t mind being splattered with more shades of red than a back alley wall, or scraping the seeds off the ceiling.
I recently searched the Internet to learn the best way to eat a pomegranate and discovered a wonderfully simple and surprisingly cathartic method I call “pomegranate smacking.” All you need is a knife, bowl and wooden spoon.
Score the fruit with a knife down its middle.
Gently stretch the skin away from the membrane of each of the two halves.
Hold the pomegranate over a bowl and smack the rind as hard as you can over and over with a wooden spoon to eject the ruby-like seeds into the bowl. (Instead of a bowl you can use a strainer and place it inside your kitchen sink to minimize countertop splatter).
Remove any stray pieces of the bitter white membrane and enjoy your bowlful of pomegranate seeds—and your clean ceiling.
More On Pomegranates:
The pomegranate, native to Persia, is one of the oldest fruits known to man. In fact, Adam and Eve might have skipped the apple entirely and bitten into a pomegranate if wooden spoons had been invented.
The pomegranate has a long history of use as a food, medicine and religious symbol in many countries. Those of you who celebrate the Jewish New Year may know that the pomegranate is a symbolic fruit of the Jewish holiday representing fruitfulness and wisdom, and one of the healthier traditional New Year foods, unlike noodle kugel, which symbolizes clogged arteries.
On the second night of Rosh Hashanah it’s common to eat a new fruit, one you haven’t tasted in a long time. Often, the pomegranate is used since it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds to the 613 mitzvot, or commandments of the Torah.
The next time you eat a pomegranate, I recommend you try the smacking method. I can’t guarantee the pomegranate will bring you fruitfulness and wisdom, but I’m pretty sure your clothes and counters will stay clean.
Wishing you all an easy de-seeding, and for those who celebrate, a Happy New Year!